SPYDERCO PARAMILITARY 2 REVIEW
Written by Blade HQ Staff Writer Andrew Hamilton on 12/12/2018
Since its introduction in 2010, the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 has been a favorite EDC knifeóand it seems like as time goes on, the knife only gains in its cult popularity. Iíve been carrying a PM2 for a few months now, and itís time to put pen to page for a review. How does this classic stand up to lofty expectations? Read on because weíre going to take a deep dive into all the Paramilitary 2 can do!
First, let's run through the stats:
- 8.28Ē Overall Length
- 3.44Ē Blade Length
- Clip Point Flat Grind Blade
- CPM-S30V Steel
- G-10 Handle Scales with Stainless Steel Liners
- 3.75 oz. Weight
- Full Ambidextrous Pocket Clip
- Compression Lock
- Made in USA
Talking to my coworkers around the office, everyone had positive things to say about the ergonomics of the PM2. The G-10 handle scales are sufficiently grippy without that overly aggressive texture that can tend to tear up pockets and even skin.
Iím a big fan of the Paramilitary 2 in hand. It seems to fall well into anyoneís grip regardless of hand size. The forward finger choil is a godsend for detail work. All the little details are well thought out. The ergos make this knife feel like a small knife, while it still performs the jobs of a big knife.
DEPLOYMENT / LOCKUP
The combination of the Spydie Hole with the Compression Lock system is a match made in heaven. This knife can be easily deployed with a traditional thumb opening, 2 handed, or with the famous Spydie Flick. You can also open the knife easily by depressing the Compression Lock and swinging the blade into position. Iíve even found that the knife can be opened in a reverse grip with the ring finger for a tactical opening.
The Compression Lock is extremely reliable and secure. It's wonderful that knife can open and close without having your fingers in the path of the blade. Iím a righty, but if you happen to rock the southpaw you may have some difficulty closing the knife one-handed with the Compression Lock. Luckily, Spyderco released a left hand PM2.
UNIQUENESS / IMPORTANCE
Spyderco stands for innovation. From the pocket clip to the Spydie Hole and their usage of the finest, cutting edge steels in the world, Spyderco has never been afraid to break the mold. The PM2 scores major points in this category, because it is without a doubt the most iconic product within their product line. When a new knife is brought to market, it will invariably be compared to the performance of a Paramilitary 2óif itís lucky!
For a knife at its price point, the Paramilitary 2 is an absolutely amazing value. For less than $150 you get an all-around great CPM-S30V blade steel and stainless-steel lined G-10 handle scalesóall in a bombproof, warrantied, USA-made package.
Where the PM2 really shines in terms of materials is the availability of blade steel upgrades and a booming aftermarket mod scene. Blade HQ did a run of PM2ís in CPM-M4 steel and an S110V version is regularly available for purchase. Companies like Flytanium (copper scales pictured) and Lynch Northwest make the gear you need to customize your knife to your heartís desire.
BLADE / SHARPENING
Is the blade on a Paramilitary 2 a clip point? Drop point? Or maybe you call it a leaf shaped blade? Any way you slice and dice it, the Paramilitary 2 is a performer. With a little more beefiness towards the back of the edge, you can readily employ this knife for harder use tasks. The front of the blade is incredibly slicey and thin at the edge. With your hand locked into the forward finger choil, this knife feels much more nimble. I love the versatility of the PM2ís blade.
I geek out over 'Super Steels' just as much as the next guy. It's cool to carry a knife made from Maxamet, M390, or CPM-S110V. That said, S30V is a great steel! Through over a month of consistent use, my Paramilitary 2 blade was still sharp enough to slice through phone book paper and stick against my thumbnail. Where a steel like S30V really shines is in sharpening. There are amazing portable sharpeners available today, such as the Spyderco Sharpmaker. If you want something that will really get your edge screaming, check out the Edge Pro Apex. On certain steels this process can take much, much longer.
FIT AND FINISH
You can expect perfect action and centering any time you pick up a Spyderco, or at least thatís been my experience. And Iíve probably handled over 1,000 pieces from the brand. That said, my one quibble is that the edge grind on my PM2 was not completely even. One side looked great whereas the opposite edge wavered with a thick area at the tip and heel of the blade and an appropriately sized bevel in the center. One sharpening session on my Edge Pro Apex alleviated the knife of this issue, but I would be remiss not to mention it..
You can buy slicier knives than the Paramilitary 2. You can also definitely find a beefier blade. That said, I think this knife approaches perfection in terms of EDC blade geometry. Slicey at the tip with a utilitarian thickness at the edge, this knife can do it all.
The BHQ M4 exclusive run (no longer available) would probably score a 10/10 in this department while I would give the S110V version a 9/10. You canít go wrong with S30V, but it just doesnít quite meet the edge holding of other special editions released by Spyderco. Check out our Best Knife Steel Guide to learn more.
The PM2 features Spydercoís standard 3-hole pocket clip. This clip is perfect from a functional, utilitarian perspective. I tend to prefer a deep carry clip for EDC, and luckily there are a variety of aftermarket options available on that front. If you want to try a deep carry clip for Spyderco knives, you can never go wrong with a Lynch Northwest clip.
LOOK / STYLING
Almost all Spyderco knives have a "love it or leave it" aesthetic, but how can you deny a refined, "form meets function" styling? The PM2 is built from the edge up to be the ultimate EDC performer. Comfortable handle scales meet a graceful leaf-shaped blade in an organic union. Thereís no overly offensive branding or billboarding. I love the distinctive quality of the PM2 that stands out even when compared to other products in the Spyderco line.
The Paramilitary 2 may be a utilitarian beast, but it is lacking in the flashiness category. Donít get me wrong, a well-used PM2 is guaranteed to get you likes on Instagram or Redditís KnifeClub, but this piece is not by any means a full-dress Protech or Mokuti custom. Rock the simple PM2 as it ships or deck yours out on the mod scene.
TOTAL KNIFE LIFE SCORE: 86/100
This is one of the most popular knives in history, and for good reason. Still kicking butt after all these years, the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 would be an ideal EDC for any knife lover. Not too hard on the wallet, built like a tank, and always hankering for action, the PM2 is everything I hoped it would be.
If you still need more convincing, check out the video below as The Late Boy Scout puts the PM2 to test in the great outdoors.
MILITARY vs. PARAMILITARY 2 vs. PARA 3
The Paramilitary 2 (middle) is a perfect size for general EDC tasks, but youíre also in luck if youíre looking for something a little bigger or smaller. The Military (top) is a behemoth of a folder with a 4Ē blade and lengthy scales to match. If youíve never handled a Military, it may seem like a gratuitous novelty. I might have thought that at some point, but give one a chance and youíll see how eager that knife is to be put to work. The Para 3 (bottom) is the perfect knife for smaller handed folks or people that canít legally carry a knife with a blade over 3Ē. If you love the PM2, youíre guaranteed to like the Para 3. Give both a try!